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Montana AG Wants Couples’ Lawsuit Dismissed

Montana AG Wants Couples’ Lawsuit Dismissed


Montana attorney general Steve Bullock has asked a judge to dismiss a lawsuit from seven same-sex couples seeking the same rights as married couples in the state.

According to the Associated Press, Bullock filed a motion to dismiss the case, arguing that the court does not have the authority to compel the state to extend spousal benefits beyond marriages between a man and a woman.

"Spousal benefits are limited by definition to married couples, and the Montana constitution defines marriage as being between a man and a woman, Attorney General Steve Bullock said," the AP reported.

District judge Jeffrey Sherlock has set a hearing on the motion to dismiss the case for January 25. The ACLU, which is representing the seven couples, plans to respond to the motion to dismiss by December 10. If Judge Sherlock allows the case to proceed, a trial date has been set for June 27.

According to the AP, the ACLU is not challenging the 2004 initiative that put the discriminatory definition of marriage in the state constitution.

"But the ACLU claims the state is violating other parts of the constitution -- the right to equal protection, privacy and dignity -- by denying gay couples in committed relationships the legal protections enjoyed by married couples," reports the AP.

"The plaintiffs are asking Sherlock to impose an injunction that requires the state to give gay couples the legal status and statutory framework that gives them those protections."

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